When visiting Bali its worth traveling to Lake Batur, a local natural wonder and sacred location. The lake is located in the Danau Batur crater and fills the south-eastern side of the caldera. It’s Bali’s largest lake and as Gunung Agung is revered by Pura Besakih as Bali’s largest mountain, Batur is revered with its own temple, pictured on the left, called Pura Ulun Danu Batur, as Bali’s largest lake. Pura Batur is considered Bali’s second-most important temple, after Besakih.
Other wonderful locations to visit in Bali are the picturesque and rustic jungle temple of Tampak Siring and Mount Kawi. The temple of Tampak Siring has two bathing spots that have been used by the Balinese people for over a thousand years as a way to promote good health and prosperity. The natural spring water is believed to have the power to cure just about any ailment. Regular ceremonies take place here and if one is willing to get wet, you too can participate in local customs.
A little off the main road in Tampaksiring is Mount Kawi with its group of large stone memorials cut high into white stone cliffs on either side of the picturesque river valley. Tampak Siring artists also produce marvelous wood carvings and other local gifts perfect for souvenirs. Both sites are open daily and can be reached with your tour guide or by public transportation from Ubud.
After you’ve relaxed on the beaches and in yoga classes, one of the next can’t miss cultural experiences is a traditional Barong and Keris Dance. The dance drama in which the Barong a lion-like creature, appears and dances together with Rangda to the theatrical use of magic intended to restore balance. The mythical dance consist of the creature dancing along beautiful sets filled with color and traditional stone carvings with traditional tribal songs. The songs and story alone are worth experiencing a Barong dance when visiting Bali together with the lavish costumes and cultural details, will inspire you and make your visit complete.
A peaceful oasis in the heart of Tokyo is the impressive Meiji Shrine. Sheltered in the shadows from a vast forest of evergreen trees that have been donated from all parts of Japan when the shrine was established, no visit to Tokyo is complete without a Meiji Shrine visit and a picture perfect walk through the Inner Garden where the main shrine buildings are located. The Outer Garden has sports arenas and the Meiji Memorial Picture Gallery. The Meiji Shrine is entered through two of Japan’s largest torii gates, made of beautiful cypress wood. The best approach to the Inner Garden is over the bridge at Harakuji Station, where you can experience the unique fashions of local youths.
After relaxing in the peace of the Meiji Shrine travel on to the awe-inspiring Imperial Palace East Garden. The entrance to the East Garden is the Ote-mon, the main gate of the Tokugawa’s castle. Walk past the Hundred-Man Guardhouse where once the castle was defended by four shifts of 100 soldiers each. Past it is the entrance to the “second circle” of the fortress, a wonderfully maintained Japanese garden. The steep stone walls of the “inner circle” with the Moat of Swans below, dominate the west side of the garden and halfway along is the Briny View Hill. An Imperial Palace East Garden tour is a great way to connect with the ancient history of Tokyo.
A great way to tie-up your visit to Tokyo is a stop at the Asakusa Kannon Temple, also known as Sensoji. Asakusa Kannon Temple is one of the most famous and oldest temple of Tokyo. According to legend, two brothers fished the statue of Kannon, the goddess of mercy from the river Sumida and build the temple to house the statue. Visitors enter through the Thunder gate which is the outer gate of the Asakusa Kannon Temple and is also the symbol of Asakusa. In the courtyard in front of the main temple stands the famous incense vat, which is believed to drive away bad luck and ailments. This temple is probably one of the most picturesque temples in Tokyo and is worth a stop simply for the photo and souvenir collecting but the heritage and history will help complete your Tokyo tour.
If your looking to escape the major cities of Bali and visit surrounding villages we recommend Celuk, Mas, and Ubud. Celuk is known as the Silver Capital of Bali and is famous for its mile-long main street lined with silver jewelry factories and shops. You can buy local styles and current fashion jewelry but you can also get custom made jewelry. Most jewerly goods are made from silver but you can also buy gold jewelry includes rings, bangles, chokers, earrings, mother of pearls, Tusuk Konde a traditional hair broach and custom items. Celuk is a great stop when visiting Bali due to the deals, exceptional quality and craftsmanship plus Celuk’s hidden gem aspect.
Travel to Mas Bali the Wood Carving Capital of Bali. Mas Village offers a fabulous range of wood products and souvenirs carved in traditional Balinese style and some modern trends. The large variety of wood carving includes abstract, animal, Bali artistic Buddha statues, flowers, horse statues, human figures, masks, modern figures, relief wood carvings, vases, and more. In Bali heritage wood carvings where done for architectural purpose as ornamentation of temples, palaces and houses but with the increase demand for Bali artisan goods, collecting wood carvings has become a staple when visiting Bali.
Finally we recommend visiting Ubud. Although Ubud may not be considered a village due to its popularity, Ubud is known as the Culture Capital of Bali. Contemporary architecture, ancient sites and Hindu temples offer a rich visual and cultural stop for those who like modern design and historic architecture. Ubud has many appetizing restaurants and places to relax in, all designed with a wonderful blend of traditional and modern Balinese architectural. A tour to Ubud offers numerous ancient architectural sites and temples which make interesting destinations for visitor who likes Balinese history and native traditions.